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Cablegate: Many Contract Guard Force Members Go On Strike In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000834

SIPDIS
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA, DS/IP/FPO, AF/EX, AF/S
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC MZ
SUBJECT: MANY CONTRACT GUARD FORCE MEMBERS GO ON STRIKE IN
MAPUTO

1. SUMMARY. On July 5, 2005, individual employees of the
local guard force contracted through Wackenhut held a strike.
Roving bands of striking guards and laid-off workers
numbering approximately 20-25 each were going to each post to
persuade the guards, either by force or intimidation, to
abandon their posts. Both the RSO and ARSO reacted by
visiting each guard post to determine which posts were manned
and to persuade the guards that were still present to remain
at their posts. Many posts at USG facilities and
approximately 25 percent of residential posts were abandoned.
AmEmb Maputo has 110 guard posts including supervisory
positions. By 0915 many of these roving bands of guards had
congregated into a group numbering 200-300 outside the
Wackenhut headquarters. USG employees and families were
contacted via the cascade system and email to inform them of
the situation. The RSO office is working with the local guard
contractor to provide temporary guard coverage until the
situation is resolved. As of COB July 5th, all residential
posts are covered, and USG office facilities are covered but
significantly understaffed. END SUMMARY.

2. On July 5, 2005, many members of the local guard force
contracted through Wackenhut held a strike. The RSO had been
informed that this strike would happen, however previous
strikes never materialized or involved demonstrations by laid
off workers in front of the Wackenhut headquarters. On the
morning of July 5th, the RSO and ARSO started receiving calls
that many of the residential guards were leaving their posts.
Both the RSO and ARSO reacted by visiting each guard post to
determine which posts were manned and to persuade the guards
that were still present to remain at their posts.

3. RSO and ARSO encountered roving bands of striking guards
and laid-off workers numbering approximately 20-25 each, who
were going to each post to persuade the guards, either by
force or intimidation, to abandon their posts. The guards
were informed by the RSO and ARSO that the act of abandoning
their posts would be sufficient for them to be removed from
the contract with the American Embassy. The diplomatic police
was notified and temporarily supplied additional police to
PA, Peace Corps, and Embassy offices. The RSO contacted the
CDA who activated the Embassy Cascade System to inform USG
employees and family members of the situation. Many of the
Embassy guards, half of the USAID guards, and all of the PA
office guards left their posts. The RSO and ARSO arrived in
time to persuade the Peace Corps office guards to remain at
their posts while a growing number of striking guards
congregated outside the gate. Eventually the striking guards
were persuaded to depart. This event was repeated outside a
residence during the course of the morning. Approximately 25
percent of the residential guards left their post or did not
relieve the night shift, to include the guards at the EMR,
who have been on post 24 hours. Due to the lack of guards at
PA office, the RSO requested that public services at PA be
restricted for the day until more guards could be supplied to
provide adequate security for the public access library. By
0915 many of these roving bands of guards had congregated
into a group numbering 200-300 outside the Wackenhut
headquarters.

4. The RSO has been in constant contact with the local guard
program manager for updates and possible resolutions to the
lack of security at USG facilities and residences. The guard
contractor proposed and initiated a temporary subcontract
with another local guard company to supply relief guard
forces. By 1600 hours all residential posts had guards,
either the planned day shift, the night shift that had stayed
on for an additional shift, or temporary subcontract guards.
The PA building is partially staffed, and the Embassy is
operating at 35 percent of scheduled coverage. The local
guard program manager stated that he would supply as many
relief guards as possible. Various sources indicate that the
situation will be the same on the following day, which will
significantly drain a dwindling guard force. According to the
local guard program manager, the strike is an illegal action
on the part of the guard force which is being instigated by a
small band of laid-off guards who are disputing a pay issue
dating back ten years. Although the contractor is working
with the Mozambican Ministry of Labor (which has already
stated that the guards actions are illegal and that their
arguments do not have any merit) to solve this issue, it is
clear that it will not be resolved in one day.

5. The RSO sent a security message to inform USG employees
and family members of the situation and provide
recommendations to ensure their safety during the lack of
guard services. More information will be passed as it becomes
available.
Dudley

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